Hearts Harvest Pantry and Café
We are excited to share about the latest expansion to Hearts ministry. Hearts for the Homeless® will be opening Hearts Harvest Pantry & Café, a place for our local community that includes a food pantry and café. This project will also include a can and bottle redemption center.
After receiving feedback from the community and other agencies, we've purchased an additional property at 870 Tonawanda Street, adjacent to our current property from which we've served the Riverside Community for over 20 years. The addition of this building is allowing us to continue to serve the community by creating a campus for Hearts for the Homeless®.
The expansion of our ministry center allows us to become a ministry campus enabling us to reach deeper into the community and follow the directive in Isaiah 58:7, "to share our resources and shelter and not turn away..."
According to the census data, more than 1,000 households in this area are NOT receiving services or are traveling significant distances to receive help elsewhere. Hearts hopes to change that. The goal of the food pantry is to expand the number of people we are able to serve in the area. Currently, our Mobile Soup Kitchen feeds meals to as many poor and homeless people that we can; in our local community, we have seen that many families and individuals still struggle to purchase groceries; and, the goal of our food pantry is to reach these families, expanding the number of people we are able to serve in the Blackrock/Riverside area.
The food pantry will offer a program like no other utilizing a “client choice” distribution so families can choose the food that personally suits their family’s needs. We plan to offer more than non-perishable goods. With the help of Feedmore WNY’s Food Bank program, we will offer the traditional items you may find at a soup kitchen. But, we will also make fresh foods available and reach out to local farms, as well as seek out food in bulk from local companies in order to bring these fresh ingredients to our food pantry.
Outside of the food pantry hours, the café will be a place that anyone in the community can enjoy. Our vision is to create a space that brings the community together. We will offer a great selection of café style beverages and snacks at a fair price. While the food pantry is open and serving the community, we will offer discounted and free items from the café to create inclusion and help foster relationships. Any proceeds from the café will go back into the ministry to help serve more people. As a blessing to the community the café will also offer free books, games, and toys.
Can & Bottle Recycling
In keeping with the tradition at Hearts of creating revenue generating programs to help fund our outreach and ministries, we will have a can and bottle recycling center. This small but efficient space will give the community a convenient place to return their cans and bottles. We will also accept cans and bottles as a donation and process them to benefit our outreach programs, including the food pantry operation.
Meal Prep & Financial Lessons
This new building will operate as a full-fledged community center and also be used for outreach and education. We plan to encourage and invite nutritionists and local chefs from around Buffalo to help families and individuals understand the value of meal planning, and nutritional habits. We will also partner with M&T Bank to help people learn financial literacy including budgeting, banking, and financial responsibility.
The opportunities for use of this community center are endless and we continue to discuss ideas for education and outreach including linkage to other service providers and bible studies.
Feedmore WNY's Food Bank program procures and distributes nutritious food to community members in Western New York. With available funding through the Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP), the Food Bank donated $19,017.50 in Seed Grant funds.
M & T Bank supplied Hearts with $15,000 in grant funds over the course of 3 years. M&T Bank’s Charitable Foundation works in partnership with local organizations to support healthy communities.
The Chapel awarded Hearts with $10,000 of funds for the project. The Chapel’s mission is to ensure all members of the community have repeated opportunities to see and hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As the construction company to see the Hearts Harvest Pantry & Cafe through, Lamparelli Construction Company is an honorary sponsor. Lamparelli is experienced in building and renovation of restaurants, housing, retail stores, churches, distribution facilities, and more. They also have a hand in many community projects around Western New York.